Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
Volovsky
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:32 am

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by Volovsky » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:16 am

Interesting discussion has K. R. Norman (Collected papers, III, p. 183), but not on viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, but on sabbato pabhaṃ. For those, who don't want to read the whole paper, here is the gist:

It seems, the reading pabhaṃ might not be the original one, and original one was something like sabbato-paha, which editors of the canon considered to be alien to Pali, and derived from it either 1) pabhā, 2) pabhū, or 3) papham. There are in fact three interpretations, which the commentary gives 1) "shining", based on pabhā, 2) "abundant", "having power" based on pabhū, 3) "ford" based on papham (word otherwise unknown with that meaning), Buddhagosa further derives it from papam.

In DN-A Buddhagosa mentions only #3), which suggests, that two other meanings were unknown to the original DN and to commentarial tradition, on which he based his DN-A. Otherwise if the canonical text would read "pabham" the commentators would immediately mention obvious "shining". The Chinese DA though clearly has "shining".

In MN-A all three possibilities are mentioned, but Chinese MA clearly does not have "shining" and has something like "Because of vijñāna's measureless sphere, it's measureless knowledge, it's measureless sight, it's measureless varieties", which doesn't seem to be a close parallel to Pali, and it doesn't include equivalent of sabbato pabhaṃ.

Interestingly, an equivalent to these famous MN and DN verse also occurs in some works of Nagarjuna. Unfortunately it is available only in Tibetan and Chinese translation, but it seems, it is derived from prabhū (i.e. #2), so again nothing to do with "shining".

So, from all this it appears, that the text, we have now is somewhat corrupted at least with respect to pabhaṃ. And since the sabbato pabhaṃ is as important for the correct understanding of the verse as viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ (let's say if we have "ford" and not "shining" it would be a completely different story), all our clever buddhological theories might turn to be about nothing. Especially wary we have to be about interpretations, which are otherwise unknown to canon or commentaries.

BTW Does anyone know if Ven. Brahmali has eventually written the paper on the study of the verse?

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 3164
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by DooDoot » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:10 am

Lal wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:50 pm
The key point of confusion arises when one takes vinnana as consciousness. Vinnana is the defiled consciousness. When one attains Arahanthood, one does not lose consciousness, but vinnana becomes purified.
The above makes no difference. If the above is true, then when one attains Arahanthood, one also does not lose nama-rupa, but nama-rupa becomes purified. Regardless of which definition of 'nama-rupa' used ('mentality-materiality' or 'naming-forms'), an Arahant would not be devoid of nama-rupa if the above was true.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 3164
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by DooDoot » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:22 am

Since this is a topic with views of scholars, it is probably fitting to add the views of Bhikkhu Sujato:
Nibbana is not viññāṇa. Really, it just isn’t.

I’ve just read yet another assertion that tries to slip a ‘cosmic consciousness’ Nibbana into the Suttas. In these kinds of arguments the same mistakes are made again and again, and you should beware of them.

One popular argument is based on the famous passage:

viññāṇāṁ anidassanaṁ anantaṁ sabbato pabhaṁ

‘Consciousness non-manifest, infinte, radiant all around.’
This is sometimes said to be a term for Nibbana, although since it is an obscure poetic passage of dubious meaning we should not infer any major conclusions from it.

This obscure passage has been often exalted to the revelation of the highest teachings of Nibbana. One of the arguments one hears is that viññāṇa normally means ‘separative consciousness’, and that this has been revalued to refer to an infinite awareness. This argument is wrong.

The etymology of viññāṇa is invoked to justify this conclusion. ‘Vi’, so the story goes, means ‘separation’, and ‘ñāṇa’ means ‘knowing’, so viññāṇa means ‘separative knowing’ (as opposed to the universal cosmic consciousness of Nibbana.)

But you cannot derive the meaning of a word by adding up a root with a prefix. Words derive meaning from context. This is especially true in the case of words in abstract philosophical use.

More here: https://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/13 ... E2%80%99t/

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20149
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:16 am

Greetings,

Please note, an interesting (but ultimately off-topic) post has been split out to:

All the terms in paticcasamuppada constitute ignorant corruptions that result in dukkha

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 1644
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by cappuccino » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:01 pm

Lal wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:01 am
That topic "vinnanam anidassanam" has been discussed for years without reaching a sound conclusion.

unsatisfactoriness, stress, is part of reality, including the reality of this forum

you might as well accept it
“Life is anxiety”

justindesilva
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by justindesilva » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:55 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:01 pm
Lal wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:01 am
That topic "vinnanam anidassanam" has been discussed for years without reaching a sound conclusion.

unsatisfactoriness, stress, is part of reality, including the reality of this forum

you might as well accept it
Not a scholar myself, all this time , it is my understanding that if paticca samuppada is well understood , then we can understand the damma and follow it.
Is it not that the term vinnanam anidassanam , contradicts DO or paticca samuppas. The salayatana rests on seeing ( vipassana) vinnana.

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 1644
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Pali Term: Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ

Post by cappuccino » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:03 pm

justindesilva wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:55 pm
Is it not that the term viññanam anidassanam, contradicts DO or paticca samuppada.

the moon's light doesn't contradict the sun's light

rain doesn't contradict snow
“Life is anxiety”

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests